This guide was created in partnership with the following organizations:
RAINN; Darkness to Light; ‘me too.’ Movement; CHILD USA; MOSAC; Childhelp; Safe Horizon; Equality League; Army of Survivors; It’s On Us; World Childhood Foundation - US; and Joyful Heart Foundation.
Featuring exclusive interviews with survivors, At the Heart of Gold looks at the shocking stories of the gymnasts who made courageous efforts to reveal a dangerous system that prioritized winning over everything. It examines how abusers such as Dr. Larry Nassar, the osteopathic physician for the U.S. women’s Olympic gymnastics team, could go unchecked for so many years.
This film includes explicit and descriptive firsthand accounts of sexual abuse and its impact on survivors, families, and communities.
Television programming addressing sexual abuse may be very disturbing for viewers. If you or a friend or family member have been impacted by sexual abuse, this film may be particularly difficult to view. Some scenes, especially those including explicit incidents of sexual abuse may trigger intense emotions and memories for survivors, parents, and others affected. Viewers who may be impacted are encouraged to make a personal (and safety) care plan ahead of watching the broadcast.
The following suggestions can assist as you watch At the Heart of Gold:
Pace yourself. If the film’s material becomes overwhelming and you are concerned about taking in content that may negatively impact you or you become distressed, allow yourself to take a break, walk away, or turn it off.
Check in with yourself. While survivors can lead thriving, productive lives, it is normal for individuals who have experienced sexual abuse or assault either directly or indirectly, to experience a host of feelings and emotions. If you need immediate support or assistance, please refer to the hotlines listed at the end of this guide. You may also want to visit www.hbo.com/HeartofGoldResources for a list of resources.
Arrange for ways to decompress after watching difficult content. This may mean spending time engaging in healthy coping strategies or amongst community to discuss the material in a supportive environment. Be mindful of social media engagement during or after the airing of the documentary as some responses to the program may cause further distress. For more tips/information on consuming media for survivors, visit https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-survivors-consuming-media. For more tips/information on consuming media for survivors, visit https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-survivors-consuming-media.
As a final note, “Stories of sexual violence tend to prompt reactions from the public, who either agree or disagree with the allegations. It can be painful to read about people not believing a survivor’s story or the difficulties of a particular investigation. Remind yourself that these stories are not happening to you in this moment, and find comfort by talking to someone you trust.” — RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)